Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brethren bits for Earth Day.
  • Camp Myrtlewood near Myrtle Point, Ore., has announced a new ecostewardship project. The camp is related to the Church of the Brethren’s Oregon and Washington Disrict. "We are going to buy 34 acres of land which borders the upstream boundary of the camp," wrote managers John and Margaret Jones in the district newsletter. "The new land acquisition will assure that the acreage will be carefully stewarded and prevent any notion of clear cutting.... The parcel also has about a quarter mile of creek frontage, which is most important to riparian/wildlife habitat and the camp's watershed. The Jones announced that the camp was able to make a very significant down payment on the purchase thanks to a major gift from the Jess and LaVaune Dunning Memorial Fund and use of some reserve funds. The camp soon will be kicking off a major fundraising drive to help pay the balance.

  • Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren is hosting an event on April 24 to kick off a "Take Charge" campaign that pits local communities against each other in a race to see which can save the most energy over the next year, according to the "Daily News" of Hays, Kan. At the event, the Hays-based Midwest Energy company is to showcase its "How$mart" program, which has been honored by the Environmental Defense Fund as among the top 15 innovations in the nation, with the potential to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent. "The How$mart program essentially lends money to Midwest customers for energy efficiency efforts, such as upgrading heating and air conditioning systems or installing insulation," the newspaper said. Competing communities include Quinter, Kinsley, Merriam, Mount Hope-Haven, Wellington, and Salina. The community that saves the most will win a small wind turbine, solar panels, or cash. "Because Quinter already has a wind turbine at its high school, it likely would go for the solar panels or the cash," the newspaper commented. Go to to watch the ongoing race in tracking how many incandescent bulb have been switched to CFLs.

  • Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren and Portland Parks and Recreation have begun a partnership to provide a community garden. The Peace Community Garden opened on the last weekend of March on an unused parking lot on church property. The garden offers 16 plots, one of which will be shared with the day shelter that the church hosts for homeless families.

  • Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Caver, Va., has a new approach to funding missions, including its crop garden for hunger relief--and a community with a taste for entertainment is "eating it up," according to the "Daily News Record." Starting April 2, the church held its fourth annual dinner theater to help finance church projects, this year an irrigation system for one of three tracts of land on which Pleasant Valley grows produce for the Verona Food Pantry.

  • Today to celebrate Earth Day, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is holding its first-ever "Blessing of the Bikes" and will be painting a rain barrel for the Gail Borden Library's "Rain Barrels on Parade" campaign ( Church members and the congregation’s children have been invited to bring their bicycles to receive a special blessing.

  • The confectionery firm Mars has said it will certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020, in an announcement distributed by the Foods Resource Bank. The Church of the Brethren participates in the Foods Resource Bank through the Global Food Crisis Fund. Mars and the Rainforest Alliance, an international not-for-profit organization, have announced a multi-year, multi-country collaboration to achieve certification of 100,000 metric tonnes of cocoa annually for use in Mars products. As part of the Mars global strategy to secure its supply of cocoa and improve the livelihood of farmers, Mars will be using Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa in its Galaxy Chocolate, sold in the UK and Ireland, beginning in 2010. Rainforest Alliance and Mars have been sharing ideas and expertise since the First International Workshop on Sustainable Cocoa Farming in 1998.
Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special

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